Friday, November 4, 2011

Stitched: Curtains for Billy (tutorial)

I had open shelving. Open Billy shelving from Ikea. I wanted Billy doors, but I didn't want to pay for them (I mean really, why is one door more expensive than the shelf itself?!), so I employed my beloved tension rods and some fun fabric I picked up this summer.
Making curtains for the short Billy bookshelves is actually insanely easy for two main reasons:
1) Tension rods. Need I say more?
2) The width of most bolts of fabric is perfect for a hanging length (including a rod pocket at the top and another at the bottom), so all you have to do is rip the fabric for as wide as you want your panel to be. Total cinch.

How exactly does this work? For each panel you'll need:

- A tension rod that fits 30" or 76.25cm

- Fabric panel at least 31"x 42.5" or 78.75cm x 108cm if you want flat panels like mine, or 46" x 42.5" or 118cm x 108cm if you want the panel to gather/bunch up (1.5x the width + seam allowances). **See in the picture how mine don't quite hit the sides of the bookshelf though? You may want to add an extra bit to your width if you want to avoid this.**

TIP: since you're just cutting across the grain of your fabric, you can make a tiny snip and then rip the fabric to get a nice straight line.

- Fold the sides and make 1/2" or 1.25cm seams
- Fold the top down to make a 2" or 5cm pocket and stitch down
- Fold the bottom 1.5" or 4cm up and stitch in place, leave ends open
- Slide curtain weights or narrow dowel into bottom pocket and stitch closed (important for lighter fabrics)
- Slide the tension rod through the top pocket, hang, and pat yourself on the back!

I don't have curtain weights in my panels yet. I just haven't gotten around to finding some. If you use a thin quilting cotton like I did, it's something you'll likely want to consider (unless you're making gathered panels). The way they look without the weights sorta bugs me, but it's not that bad. It's just going to take some hunting to find those in my town, hmph!

Can I just say how nice it is to have a visually 'clean' set of shelves when I first come into my office?! I love it! Everything is still easy to get to, it's just neatly tucked away. I also really like how the fabric worked out so nicely in my office. The walls are pretty bright, though not as bright as they appear in these pictures, but still, the subtle pattern and white-on-yellow mix does wonders in this space. Hooray!
* The photos in this post...um, yeah. Totally taken over a period of two weeks. See if you can find all the subtle changes, ha! (and yes, I DID washi tape a picture to my still-wrapped-in-plastic picture frames. I am THAT person.)

11 comments :

Lizzie said...

This is a great little project. I never thought of using tension rods to make curtains for my (very large!) studio cupboard and bookcase. I even have some lovely fabric that might work out.
I think I'm going shopping for the rods and dowels/weights. Thank you!
BTW your curtains look so pretty, very fresh and cheerful. But because they are flat, they look good in an office - not fussy or frilly.

Allison said...

Love, love, love that sweet yellow fabric... what a find! Turned out really great.

O.K... the pictures over a couple of weeks makes me feel like I'm trying to find the six differences in the pictures. I spotted the box of rocks that had been moved, the taped picture, one doily bunting in front of the U2 poster... and now I'm stuck!

fiona said...

What a great idea! I too have had the same thought about the price of the cupboard doors for my Billy bookcases, and this is a great alternative.

Wibke said...

oh, looks like you have the summer in your home!
...and we have november!
sehr schön!
cheers!
wibke

Carolyn said...

That looks great! That room is such a happy place! The shelftop styling could be in a mag.

Juliette said...

Thanks so much for all your sweet comments! =)

Yes, it's a cheery little room, isn't it? =) I'm quite happy in there!

Ingrid said...

Looks really nice! good pix too :)

Tally said...

Sometimes the world is so funny.
I had this self made shelf http://t-tally.blogspot.com/2010/02/8-sunday-selbst-ist-die-frau.html
On the picture you can see yellow curtain hanged supposingly proper, but it never worked out. Pulling the fabric fell out of the holders.
For 1,5 yrs it was ugly - and that in a fabric lover's home.

It needed stumbling into a blog of an American that has moved back to make me run to OBI to check out on tension rods.
It took VERY short time and finally the open shelf has curtains that never fall of.
I use kind of hangers with kind of pegs and didn't sew a seam.

thank you, danke vielmals
greetings from Hamburg
Tally

Juliette said...

@ Tally - Glad to help! You're right, the smallest change can make the biggest difference...and sometimes we find our ideas in the most unlikely places! =)

Mein Profil said...

Wow, das sieht ja wirklich schön aus. Das ist wirklich eine gute Idee. Liebe Grüße Nadine

Nadine said...

Wow, das sieht ja wirklich schön aus. Das ist wirklich eine gute Idee. Liebe Grüße Nadine

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